Holland (December 11, 2006)–A recent outdoor performance of Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) in Holland marked the first European use of Renkus-Heinz’s Iconyx digitally controllable column arrays as part of a live sound system design.
Renkus-Heinz’s Iconyx IC16s were used recently for an outdoor performance of Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) in Holland.The show was staged during the Zeeland Nazomer Festival in Terneuzen, at the Port of Zeeland. Featuring five soloists, a large choir and a full symphony orchestra, it was performed in the open on a floating stage in Terneuzen’s harbor in front of a audience of 1,000. Ampco Pro Rent provided the audio production, with the Iconyx loudspeakers supplied by sister company TM Audio, Renkus-Heinz’s Dutch distributor.
Sound designer Cees Wagenaar of BV Oorzaak, who specializes in large scale opera and classical music, was hired by the producers to create a system design capable of conveying the power of Wagner in full flight–without the assistance of walls or ceiling. “I wasn’t precisely sure what the producers expected, nor what the weather conditions would be,” he said, “so my line array solution was slightly over-the-top. But Wagner is very dynamically written with a lot of brass and percussion, and you really need the headroom.”
His spec called for left and right hangs of Ampco’s Synco by Martin Audio W8LC line array, eight a side, flown off tall truss masts and angled down at the audience grandstand. Various fills were provided by Renkus-Heinz Synco STS and CE3 cabinets, with Renkus-Heinz TRC 81/9 and SR5 speakers serving as compact stage monitors, mixed by Rob Acket, relayed the orchestra and choir sound to the soloists.
When it came to the five soloists’ own sound reinforcement, Wagenaar’s aim was to localize their voices to their physical positions on stage: “My opinion is that you need to set the speakers where your sources are, so for the singers, I wanted to place the speakers right there in among them. The small, narrow shape of the Iconyx means you can put them where you want, as long as the producer agrees; that’s one of the demands of my sound design. In this case, we incorporated them into the set, so they’re invisible to the audience. In the planning, everyone was a little anxious about that, but when they were installed, you just couldn’t see them anymore.”
A pair of Iconyx IC16s was placed at stage level to the left and right of stage center, spaced apart by a few meters and directly within the soloists’ performance area. With each of the column’s 16 full-range coaxial drivers equipped with an individual DSP channel and amplifier, they were focused by Wagenaar and TM Audio’s Reinier Bruijns using Renkus-Heinz’s BeamWare software, and timing-aligned with the line arrays via BSS Soundweb.
Wagenaar added, “If you place them correctly, as with most line arrays, you have very equal sound pressure from front to back. The whole IC16 column is effectively one loudspeaker with a single acoustical source point, and because you can electronically adjust the opening angle in the vertical plane, you can really focus sound exactly where you want it.”
With the main clusters, flown high above the stage from truss towers, carrying the orchestra and choir sound, the stage-level Iconyx columns provided a distinct acoustical location for the soloists’ vocals within that broad sound field. The two IC16s were programmed to create a square 10 degree lobe, and were tilted backwards to raise the gain before feedback level behind them, as they were positioned between the singers; they were also covered with acoustically transparent fabric to match the set design.
Wagenaar continued, “By hanging the clusters high and concealing the IC16s, gain before feedback was excellent and visual intrusion of all the loudspeakers was minimized. The combination gave us a wide dynamic range, with an excellent separation of the solo vocals in the mix.”
The orchestra was miked using a mixture of some 82 microphones, including DPA, Neumann, AK, Shure, Sennheiser and Crown models, and pre-mixed on two 48-channel Allen & Heath ML5000 consoles, each of which sent two pre-mix channels to a Yamaha 48 channel M7CL at FOH. Processing included a Lexicon 480L.
Choir miking was somewhat unconventional and also used DPA mics, this time allocated as one mic per pair of choristers, each mic being shoulder-worn: “We do that,” said Wagenaar, “to create a very nice, diffuse vocal sound across the whole chorus.”
Reinier Bruijns remarked, “It was a fascinating exercise, to be part of something completely new. We all learned a lot of new things and heard a new approach to live sound reinforcement that worked incredibly well–not something you can say about every day’s work.”